Observer Week in Review: 10-15 October 2011

A guest speaker at MSU junket gets carried away


Maynooth News:

  • The Student Observer Newsletter Issue #1 launched this week. Keep an eye out around campus for a copy.
  • The Hotelgate saga continued this week, as the thread on boards exploded and was subsequently closed.
  • We have footage of the initial protest outside the Union here
  • Paudi sat down and interviewed FEE’s Martin Grehan for an interview about the controversy here. Rob Munnelly has been unavailable for audio interview.
  • Shane and Paudi went along to class rep training at the Lucan Spa Hotel or a couple of hours. Their exploits are here
  • Radio Free Maynooth this week has a lengthy discussion about the whole junket saga, including some interesting points we haven’t raised in other articles. Hear that here.
  • In perhaps the most shocking development of the year, an investigation by The Observer‘s own Shmick Hughes has revealed that VPSEC Keith ‘The Irate Destroyer’ Broni is in fact 1980’s professional wrestler Corporal Kirchner

Keith Broni's double-life

National News:

  • USI Gary Redmond debated against FEE’s Nicky O’ Donnell here.
  • The Trinity College Philosophical Society withdrew their controversial invite to BNP leader Nick Griffin. More on that here
  • UCC campus made an incredibly brief appearance on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. See here.
  • The College Tribune reports that USI are planning a national student march for next month, in order to put pressure on the Government to freeze fees and save the grant. Dave’s report on that is here.
Entertainment Corner, with Brian

Allow me to preface this review by saying that I do not like to preach. Those who know me know that I’m a happy-go-lucky scamp possessing little or no shame. I have no desire to ascend any form of pedestal or soapbox, and I try very hard when expressing my opinions to avoid hypocrisy. With that in mind, it is my sad duty to say that Monday night’s Jelly Wrestling event at the S.U. was a complete bloody shambles.

Let’s get some of the basic facts out of the way. Firstly, the event was over an hour late starting. Not to say that the banging 90s tunes were unwelcome to these aging ears, but still, the poster said 9pm. I arrived at 9pm. There was no jelly wrestling at 9pm. Not a good start.

The size of the crowd, despite being (according to one attendee) reputedly one of the best turnouts for an average Monday night in the S.U. bar since 2009, was slightly underwhelming, approximately 70 people, particularly considering that a sizeable portion was comprised of members of the Playdo Soc. in for a drink after their A.G.M.

That said, a larger crowd would have made viewing the actual jelly wrestling, when it did begin, impossible. With the pool itself positioned at the Jukebox end of the S.U. bar (the end with the stairs and the D.J.’s box) with no seating, or raised platform, people simply crowded at the barrier like the front row of a concert, and attempted to peer between the shoulders of the person in front of them at the small paddling pool on the floor. Speaking personally, I lost sight of the pool every time one of the people in front of me raised their pint glass to their lips. Perhaps the stage in the next room would have been a better choice of set up. Undoubtedly its proximity to the toilets would have trumped the dubious privacy of a screened-off alcove 3 feet from the audience.

Further compounding these organisational blunders was the method of selection of participants. I had assumed, wrongly, that the contestants had been pre-selected, ensuring that a substantial number of shameless individuals (not unlike myself) were lined up. This, I had assumed, would be the method chosen by the organisers to negate any possibility of the event being a non-runner due to lack of willing participants. I had assumed that that might be a risk, given the potentially embarrassing nature of Jelly Wrestling. I posed the question to a member of the S.U. at the event, and was informed that this would be a ‘volunteers on the night’ event. I was reassured that my misgivings would be unfounded, due to the m.c./judge ‘Damo’ being “really good at getting people to volunteer.”

Now, I love volunteering to be a part of events. Just the other week I participated in the Hypno Dog show at the S.U. and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m still being complimented for my Michael Jackson impersonation and ballet skills, and despite however involuntary their actual execution was, I had a fantastic experience. I was seriously considering volunteering to strip down and wrestle with another man on my knees in jelly, the walk home in the cold be damned! I’m glad I restrained myself.

Continuing on the theme of my assumptions for a moment, let’s ease ourselves gently towards my major bone of contention with the event: the terms of victory. I had assumed that one was declared victor in a bout of jelly wrestling by wrestling their opponent out of a large white tshirt provided by the organisers. That’s certainly what it looked like in the pictures I saw from the last Jelly Wrestling event held by the S.U. I imagine my mistake in this regard was to imagine that a bout organised by a college student union in a campus building between brave and shameless individuals who would quite possibly be complete strangers would be conducted in a rather tame manner, with effort to emphasise the ridiculousness of the act of wrestling with someone in a paddling pool of jelly It’s a bit of fun right? Its not, say for argument’s sake, going to be conducted in the manner of a cheap ‘Girls and/or Boys Gone Wild’ knockoff from the seedier corners of the Internet. Right?

Wrong. I don’t know who decided upon the terms of victory, though I feel it would be presumptuous to blame the m.c./judge, given that for both the second and third bouts he consulted both the crowd (perhaps in a bid for showmanship) and the general direction of the S.U. member who appeared to be in charge of the event to clarify what constituted a win. The aforementioned problems I had with actually viewing the jelly-pool prevented me from seeing who answered him. Whoever made the decision, the first bout, between two guys, was settled by the complete removal of one party’s underwear, leaving him completely naked in front of 70odd people. He seemed a good sport about it, but personally speaking, even with my limited view, I saw more naked male backside than I am usually accustomed to.

The second bout, between two girls, was declared a draw, as neither party was willing to meet the terms of victory; in this case, exposing at least one of their opponent’s nipples. The girls were given the large white tshirts I mentioned before, as well as large white boxer shorts (a luxury not extended to the male contestants who preceded them) and were clearly labouring under the same delusion as I was: namely that the removal of their opponent’s tshirt signalled a win. This was not the case, and both girls were left sitting in the jelly, sporadically wrestling and throwing jelly at each other, while the crowd bayed for nipples to be exposed, until they decided to exit the pool themselves. Frequent and insistent hand gestures by one of the girls in the general direction of the S.U. member who appeared to be in charge of the event were ignored.

The third bout was, for me, the absolute nadir of the evening. A sudden paucity of volunteers led to a mixed gender contest. While it would be easy to say, with the benefit of hindsight, that such a thing should never have been allowed, such a sentiment, expressed after the fact, would be nothing more than hypocritical preaching. At least one mixed gender bout took place at the last Jelly Wrestling event, without any major consequence (bar the damaging of male pride, har har). I had assumed, and a spectating member of the S.U. admitted to having shared my assumption after the bout, that this would be a mildly awkward and hilarious affair, epitomising the ridiculousness inherent to jelly wrestling. I mean, how many people are going to enthusiastically attempt to remove the clothing of a complete stranger of the opposite gender, 3 feet away from a large audience? Well, one nameless individual has stood forward.

I’ve written and re-written this paragraph a dozen times attempting to make it sound less pornographic, but the simple fact is that a tall, athletic young man forcibly and utterly exposed a young woman to a large audience in a public venue. So forcibly in fact, that her bra was literally ripped into two separate pieces. To say that this occurred as part of an organised event is an overstatement. The very notion of organisation implies that rules had been devised, implemented and enforced. That the event’s judge was unclear as to how the bouts were to be conducted beyond putting two people in a pool of jelly and telling them to have at it is the simplest testament to this observation. That the two contestants in the mixed gender bout were given the ultimatum “cock or nipples” as their sole instruction on how the bout was to be conducted pushes the whole event beyond the realm of suffering from incompetent organisation towards nothing more than cheap titillation.

Any real attempt to conduct this event professionally would have seen the male contestant from the mixed gender bout told to sit back down after he aggressively shoved one of the girls from the female bout back into the jelly-pool as she was trying to exit it. Oh, he was reprimanded certainly, but they still put him in the pool with a young woman and told him to expose her to the audience to win tickets to the Halloween bar-ex. But then, when you’ve noticed one of the security guards avidly and somewhat disturbingly staring at the backside of a first year girl for a solid five minutes, perhaps the outcome shouldn’t come as such a shock.

I left after that third bout. A fourth one was beginning, with two guys, but I was already on my way to the door. Hearing the m.c./judge comment on how one of the contestants could do with the use of a bra of his own did nothing to encourage me to turn around. I sincerely hope that this proves to be an aberration, and the quality of S.U. events returns to the standard I praised in my previous reviews. It would be a shame, after such a promising start, for it all to go wrong.

An important part of being in college beyond education is, for me, experiencing life. Go out for events. Stay in for the Late Late Toy Show. Have (legal) fun. Meet new people. See new things. Do new things. Join the most outlandish society you can find on Fairs Day. Walk to McDonalds at 4am for ice cream. Volunteer to be hypnotised. But maybe avoid the Jelly Wrestling.

Brian McNamara


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